TODD V. UNITED STATES, 158 U. S. 278 (1895)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Todd v. United States, 158 U.S. 278 (1895)

Todd v. United States

No. 822

Argued March 26, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 278


A preliminary examination before a commissioner of a circuit court is not a case pending in any court of the United States within the meaning of Rev. Stat. section 5406.

Todd and others were indicted under section 5406 of the Revised Statutes, reading as follows:

"If two or more persons in any state or territory conspire to deter, by force, intimidation, or threat, any party or witness in any court of the United States from attending such court, or from testifying to any matter pending therein, freely, fully, and truthfully, or to injure such party or witness in his person or property, on account of his having so attended or testified, . . . each of such persons shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment, with or without hard labor, not less than six months nor more than six years, or by both such fine and imprisonment."

The indictment stated:

"That heretofore, . . . J. W. Todd, alias Watson Todd, George W. Kelley [etc., naming plaintiffs in error and others], whose Christian names and surnames, respectively, are to this grand jury otherwise unknown, unlawfully, corruptly, forcibly, and feloniously did combine, conspire, and confederate together, by force and intimidation and threats, to injure Wiley Pruett and William Pruett, who had theretofore been witnesses and testified against Joe Arnold, Milton Farmer, and George Kelley upon a charge of endeavoring to influence, intimidate, and impede witnesses in a court of the United States, in violation of the criminal laws of the United States, tried preliminarily by and before Robert Charlson, acting as a commissioner of the Circuit Court of the United States for said district, in

Page 158 U. S. 279

their person and property on account of the said witnesses above named having testified in said cause in the said court as aforesaid, and in pursuance of said conspiracy, and to effect the object thereof, the said defendants, and each of them, did assault, beat, bruise, and wound with weapons the said Wiley Pruett and William Pruett, contrary,"


A demurrer to the indictment was interposed and overruled, and, a nolle prosequi having been entered as to certain defendants, Todd, Roberts, and Mitchell, and ten others, were tried and convicted, and, a motion in arrest of judgment having been made and denied, were each sentenced to imprisonment at hard labor for four years, and payment of $500 and costs.

Thereupon they sued out a writ of error from this Court.

Page 158 U. S. 282

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